Sunday, March 18, 2012

Interview with Nicholas Gullo -- Lead Technician at Tiger Direct

Recently, I interviewed Nicholas Gullo, the Lead Technician at Tiger Direct in Vernon Hills, IL. Because of his background and unique skill set working in retail at Tiger Direct, thought he could provide an interesting perspective to those interested in IT retail and technical support.

How would you describe your ideal day? 
A perfect work day for me would be having multiple projects to do, and infinite amount of time to get them done, and a guarantee of not having any interruptions. In a retail environment, time is always against you, and interruptions are inevitable. This makes my ideal work day a total fantasy. But it's nice to dream.

What are some challenges involved in your position that are unknown to your coworkers?
I think the main challenge that I deal with here that others may take for granted is the ability to manage and complete multiple tasks at the same, while also assisting customers and keeping the other technicians and service advisors equally focused. There is always going to be deadlines on our work so keeping up with it is very important. We pride ourselves on having a very fast turnaround on checked-in computers, so it's always a struggle to make sure that all work is done on time, is done properly, and the customers are contacted in a timely fashion.

What is your job title? How would you describe it to someone unfamiliar with technology?
My job title is Lead Technician. For someone not familiar with what I do, my position is basically acting as the right hand of the Technical Services Supervisor, and aiding in the day-to-day running of the department. I am also totally in-charge of the department when the Technical Services Supervisor is not on-duty, or when he is occupied with other tasks outside of the department.

What is your best approach to stay on top of technology?
The Internet is by far the best way to stay on the cutting edge of technology news. There are thousands of websites dedicated to the latest and greatest technology news and information. Magazines can also sometimes be a good source, but usually the news is already rather out-of-date by the time the magazine actually makes it to newsstands. Staying on top of things is very important in this line of work, as it makes you much more credible to the consumer.

What are three technology areas that you have expertise in that make you qualified for this role? Please explain.
I don't know if there are any particular areas that are especially helpful since so many areas in technology overlap each other. I would probably say that besides the basic computer knowledge (hardware and software), that knowledge of computer networking and security principles is very important. Another area that I frequently receive questions about is the computer's ability to connect to a television, and how to stream media across different devices.

Do you spend more time with internal or external clients?
I spend all of my time with the customers who come into the store needing service. Although we do offer in-home services, it is not my job to perform that work, as we do have other technicians who can do that for us.

What are some myths or exaggerations of technology that you wish to dispel?
One thing that I am frequently asked is why I can't recover files from a customer's hard drive disk, or also why hard disk drives are so prone to failure over time. Also, you cannot easily convert USB to FireWire, no matter how much you want to. I'd be happy if I was never asked that again.

From my experiences, what are some of the more difficult technology challenges for clients?
One of the most difficult challenges for customers would be understanding the way that Windows stores files, and where to go to access their files. Tying directly into that is also the backup and recovery of files, and how the process works.

Do you have any biases toward certain technology companies? If so, does it matter if you have biases toward certain companies?
I absolutely do. There are some companies whose products I would never willingly sell to anyone, regardless of what they need or want. On the other hand, there are products from companies that I will always sell over any others.

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